Will There Actually Be a Spring Training Battle For The Bullpen?

The Yankees have a lot of good young relief pitchers. They also have a strong core of experienced major league relief pitchers. At the end of last season, it seemed like we were headed toward a spring training battle royale   to figure out who the Yankees would carry in the bullpen. As a minor league nut, I was excited.

It looks like the Yankees will please me and move into spring training with a lot of movable parts. The Yankee bullpen of seven right now looks like:

  • Mariano Rivera
  • Damaso Marte
  • Brian Bruney
  • Jose Veras
  • Dan Giese
  • Phil Coke
  • Edwar Ramirez

The bottom four pitchers all could conceivably be replaced with pitchers from the minor leagues. Just on the outside appear to be:

  • Marc Melancon
  • David Robertson
  • Jon Albaladejo
  • Steven Jackson
  • Humberto Sanchez

While some of these names are more implausible than others to start the season in the majors, they all certainly have a chance. Marc Melancon in particular has nothing left to learn a Triple-A, and could bump someone like Edwar Ramirez from the majors.… Click here to read the rest

Moose Points Finger at…Rivera?

Joe Torre’s book seems to be getting a lot of people embroiled in controversy. The latest to be ripped by media personalities (if you consider Michael Kay a personality) is Mike Mussina, for the comments that he made about Mariano RIvera in Joe Torre’s book. From Mike “Tiny” Lupica:

“We were up 3-0 and Mo (Rivera) came in again with the lead and lost it. He lost it again. As great as he is, and it’s amazing what he does, if you start the evaluation again since I got here, he has accomplished nothing in comparison to what he accomplished in the four years before. He blew the World Series in ’01. He lost the Boston series. He didn’t lose it himself but we had a chance to win in the ninth and sweep them, and he doesn’t do it there.”
The tone here isn’t angry, the way the tone of this book isn’t angry, despite the coverage it has gotten.

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Olney: Bobby must swallow pride, Dunn “perfectly suited” for Yanks

In Buster Olney’s latest (ESPN), Olney notes that Bobby Abreu will likely have to reduce his demands if he actually wants to play this season. Our buddy Bobby was looking for $16 million per year, a price that the Yanks simply weren’t interested in paying. Now, in this market, he’ll be lucky to get Raul Ibanez money. In fact, a 1-year deal is probably all he’ll get and Olney believes that Abreu is now willing to accept that outcome, as it will help him find a home for 2009.

Furthermore, Olney had the following to say about Adam Dunn:

Dunn might draw interest from the Yankees, a team for which he is perfectly suited, if they could shed the contracts of two of Xavier Nady, Hideki Matsui and Nick Swisher

They’d have to lose Matsui and Nady in order to pick up Dunn. With Swisher in right, Dunn could easily slot into the DH role. However, Matsui is the biggest “problem” in acquiring Dunn, as he has a no-trade clause and costs $13 million, a figure that would be hard to move in the current market (unless you eat about $5-6 million of the salary).… Click here to read the rest

Gutless Joe?

Joe Torre must be respected as one of the greatest managers in franchise history, but there is a very disturbing pattern emerging from reports of his tell-all tome. We can’t condemn a man for a few isolated statements, especially when his body of work is otherwise overwhelmingly positive, but it’s very interesting to note who he bashes, who he doesn’t, and how he does his damage.

Look at the guys he does call out: A-Rod, Wells, Kevin Brown, Randy Johnson, Carl Pavano, Brian Cashman. These are people who he describes as having “emotional issues” and “demons.”

Who does he deliberately avoid any possible confrontation with? Gary Sheffield, that’s who: a guy who called Joe Torre a racist, a guy who quit on his team in order to arrange a trade, a guy who is generally acknowledged as bad guy to have on your team. So what is Joe’s reaction to Sheff? He apologizes.

more after the jump… Click here to read the rest

David Cone Talks Steroids in "The Yankee Years"

I am seriously beginning to wonder whether Joe Torre has ever read the book that has his name on it. In the book, Joe claims that he was unaware of the fact that some of his players were juicing. The Daily News points out the following statements from David Cone:

But in “The Yankee Years,” David Cone said the players had a good idea about who was juicing. There was speculation about players who worked closely with Brian McNamee, the trainer who told the Mitchell Commission, Congress and federal investigators that Roger Clemens used steroids and human growth hormone and that Andy Pettitte used HGH.
According to the authors, players often joked about teammates who worked out with McNamee when he served as an assistant strength coach for the Yankees in 2000-2001, especially players who grew dramatically stronger, bigger and leaner in a short period of time. “He’s on Mac’s program,” was the joke, or “He’s on The Program.”

I honestly hate the entire steroids storyline, as I feel like so many players were doing it that it seems silly to punish or denounce those who were caught. … Click here to read the rest

Torre: Post-2001 Teams Not Tough Enough

From Neil Best:

That the Yankees of the former manager’s final six seasons were a self-absorbed, overpaid imitation of the famously gritty bunch that brought him four rings in his first six years.

“It was just not an unselfish team,” Torre says of the revelation that hit him in 2002.

“The team wasn’t tough enough . . . A lot of those players are more concerned about what it looks like as opposed to getting dirty and just getting it done. Those other teams, they were ferocious.”

I find this line of reasoning to be both frustrating and ridiculous. It comes from the same school of logic as the old canard that only “True Yankees” win championships due to their grit and guttiness, while high priced mercenaries such as Alex Rodriguez will always come up short. Worse yet is that it is now coming from the manager, which lends an air of legitimacy to a weak argument. As Rob Neyer succinctly puts it:

Beginning in 1996, the Yankees won four World Series in five years.

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